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First Move with Julia Chatterley
The End Of An Era At Amazon; Yellen To Meet With Regulators Over GameStop Frenzy; Tokyo Olympics Organizers Issue Health Guidelines. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired February 03, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Live from New York, I am Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE and here is your need to know.
Bezos bows out. The Amazon CEO to focus on space, climate and "The Washington Post."
Reddit rally receding. GameStop shares slump as regulatory risk rise.
And going for gold. Tokyo's action plan for this year's Olympics.
It's Wednesday. Let's make a move.
Welcome once again to FIRST MOVE and lots going on this Wednesday, a blowout and a bow out at Amazon, the burnout of the GameStop trade and a
vigorous vaccine rollout in West Virginia. Governor Jim Justice will join us later to explain just how they are managing it, but today is all about
Amazon's surprise Jexit. That's what I'll call it.
Jeff Bezos stepping down as CEO moving to the executive chairman role later this year, stealing the spotlight from Amazon's first $100 billion sales
quarter, an epic quarter and an epic year for Amazon and the team. Andy Jassy, the boss of the Cloud business will be the new CEO and that tells
you where perhaps they see the growth opportunities lying for the company.
Remember, Alphabet is also fighting for space in the Cloud. And oh boy, it is an expensive fight for these guys. They lost more than $5 billion in
that part of the business in 2020. Thank goodness for Google's advertising business, which powered ahead once again.
Tech stocks overall, though, will help the majors add to their recent gains, as a sense of calm, I think being restored, too, as speculative
shares like GameStop and AMC continue to lose ground premarket.
GameStop losing some 60 percent of its value, AMC down more than 40 percent. Wow, look at that chart. What's fascinating, too, about the past
week and the criticism that brokers like Robinhood have faced is that new numbers show the app got more than two million new U.S. downloads last week
We don't want the net numbers, but those new ads say something. How does that old saying go? There's no such thing as bad publicity. It reminds me a
little bit of "Delete Facebook" when no one did. That is the global picture.
For stocks, Italy outperforming on news of Mario's moments. The former E.C.B. President Mario Draghi has agreed to lead a new technocrat-led
government if, of course, he can pull parties together.
Meanwhile, over in China, shares there pulling back after weak services sector data, the weakest since last spring, so perhaps a bit of a warning
All right, let's get to the drivers and the Bezos bombshell. Jeff Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO later this year becoming executive chairman.
In a letter to staff, Bezos says he plans to focus on new products and early initiatives and this, not this, but this -- yes, him -- is the man
who will succeed him as CEO, Andy Jassy, currently head of Amazon's Cloud business.
Christine Romans joins us now with more. Bye-bye, Bezos. There's so many puns, I can get in here and I'll continue to do it. I mean, he's still
going to be involved in the business, I think, let's be clear. But that bombshell announcement overshadowing what was an epic, epic quarter for
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And a great year, an epic quarter and a great year. I mean, this company, a $1.7
trillion company, Bezos, the stock up -- what -- almost 70 percent over the past year making Bezos richer by the day, I mean, that guy gets richer as
And he is going to focus -- he says it's not retirement in that letter to employees. He said, this is not retirement, he is going to focus his
energies on his newspaper, on Blue Origin, his spaceflight outfit, and also on climate education initiatives that are important to him.
And when you look at who he picked as his successor, I think you're so right to point out how telling that is. This is somebody who has been by
his side, since at least I think 1997. I mean, these two men are inventors who not only invent new ways to do business, but also have created a
culture at Amazon. And Andy Jassy, right in there, can, you know almost exactly like Jeff Bezos in terms of the corporate culture there that they
So he will be the executive chair. It reminds me a little bit of Bob Iger stepping away from Disney. It seemed like it was really at the top as well,
you know and such a -- kind of a such a big name intertwined with the company.
But Jeff Bezos will be executive chair leaving the day-to-day running of the company to his lieutenant here.
ROMANS: You know, in that letter as well to his employees, he said, when he started Amazon in a rented garage in Washington, it didn't even have a name
yet and they were selling online books. And the biggest question he got from people was, what's the internet?
Imagine how, you know, the foresight of him to be able to create this business, along with the birth of the internet and make it feel big and
make so much money.
CHATTERLEY: That leapt out to me, too. What a journey and what a beautiful moment, actually, and I couldn't agree more. He is still going to be
around, he is just not going to deal with the day-to-day, so he has got the luxury in a way of overseeing everything and being able to play without
being patronizing at the things that really he is passionate about, like space.
Blue Origin, we know is something that that he is incredibly passionate about. It also comes at a time where Amazon and these other Big Tech
companies are going to come under increasing scrutiny, and he doesn't have to be the guy now in the hot seat, who is the CEO that gets, you know,
dragged to Congress to explain things that are going on. There is somewhat of a beauty in that, too, I think of timing.
ROMANS: He came back to Capitol Hill last summer, remember, and there was a House Subcommittee on antitrust that he had to appear before and they wrote
a pretty scathing kind of report on their allegations of anti-competitive behavior. The company said it does not engage in anti-competitive behavior,
and it welcomes the scrutiny because it is a big company, and scrutiny is always good.
But you're right. He steps back at a time when we do see these Big Tech companies and the scrutiny of those tech companies heightened, not only
United States, but even before that in the E.U.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, this is the moment where he's like, Andy, please take the seat with pleasure. We will discuss this further on in the show.
Christine, great to have you with us as always, and we missed you on Monday. I believe it was your birthday.
ROMANS: It was my birthday. Then there was a snowstorm, so I had a nice long weekend.
CHATTERLEY: Happy birthday, for Monday.
ROMANS: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Thank you. All right, from Amazon highs to GameStop lows. Premarket trading is higher, then it went away from its January peak of
nearly $490.00. Wow, look at this worth, $93.00 now. It comes as U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to meet with regulators following the
Reddit retail investor frenzy.
Paul La Monica joins me. Paul, we talked about gravity being applied at some point and that serious gravity near $490.00 down to $93.00. And, hey,
we might not be at the bottom yet. No surprise that Janet Yellen is perhaps pulling together regulators here, the Treasury as well, and just to
understand perhaps what needs to be done, if anything?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, and that's a great point, Julia. One, we need to note that GameStop stock is actually up by about 20
percent or so at last check in premarket, back near you know, $115.00 to $120.00.
So this train, this volatile, rollercoaster ride, runaway train, if you will, it's not ending anytime soon. But with regards to Janet Yellen, I
think it's going to be important in this Reddit-Robinhood world we live in now, or the S.E.C., or the Fed, or Treasury or other financial regulators
to figure out how to -- what are the new rules? What's the new playbook for stocks like this?
And one thing that's going to be tough maybe for Janet Yellen is she has already disclosed that she has received $810,000.00 in speaking fees from
Citadel from 2019 to 2020 and we all know that Citadel is a big player in this saga, because they both are the order flow execution engine for
And also, it helped bail out Melvin Capital, one of the big hedge funds that got crushed by the short squeeze. So Yellen may have to not
necessarily recuse herself, but she's already seeking permission to have these talks in light of the fact that there is a potential financial
conflict of interest here.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, Citadel Securities, of course, as you pointed out, the market maker versus the hedge fund. Two separate businesses called the same
thing, which has been very confusing for everybody.
All the criticism of Robinhood, Paul, and yes, I mentioned at the top of the show, this fact that the latest data shows that they got two million
new subscribers according to the last data.
Now, we don't know whether it's net. We don't know how many they lost through all the criticism as well, if any, but it did remind me of the
"Delete Facebook" trend where people were saying, you know, delete Facebook, and actually all they did was ever add users.
LA MONICA: Yes, that's a very good point there. I think that Robinhood will remain one of the powerhouses, but there are a lot of other online brokers,
both pure play, digital first companies as well as the big powerhouses that are now getting even bigger because you have ETrade owned by Morgan
Stanley, you have TD Ameritrade part of Schwab. It's going to be tough for Robinhood.
Their only business is what they're doing with brokerage for the most part. I mean, all the "Delete Facebook" talk, a lot of people forgot that they
may have been deleting Facebook, but they weren't doing so with Instagram and WhatsApp which are also owned by Facebook.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, this is by no means over, and coming up on the show, we're going to be speaking to the founder of a firm called Thinknum that collects
data now on Reddit to perhaps give to these hedge funds so that they can assess what's coming next. It's a fascinating thing.
Paul La Monica, thank you so much for your insights there.
All right, onto some Olympic efforts. Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have released new safety guidelines for the rescheduled games due to be held in
July and August of this year. Questions remain about Japan's ability to host the games; and today, the government extended COVID-19 emergency
measures until March.
Selina Wang joins us now. Selina, so what's in this blueprint? What did they tell us about what these Olympic Games might look like?
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Julia, this is just one of several playbooks on how to hold the games in the middle of the pandemic, but it's
really unclear if this does much to quell those doubts about Japan's ability to hold these games.
What we did learn is that participants are not required to get vaccinated, though it is recommended. They are going to instead rely on other rules
like wearing a mask as much as possible, social distancing and this interesting rule, which is to support athletes by clapping, not singing, or
Athletes and officials who arrive are going to have to download a government contact tracing app and be tested before and after arrival. They
will not need to quarantine for 14 days, but they do need to submit a detailed plan of their activities for those first two weeks.
Now, we still are missing critical information. For instance, how many fans can come? Can any international fans come? Officials say that this decision
will be made by the springtime.
And there was this really notable moment in the press conference when Olympic officials were asked how they're going to convince the Japanese
public that these games are safe. If you have thousands of people coming from abroad who are not required to get vaccinated and are not going to
fully isolate themselves? They did not give a straightforward answer. They did not give a straightforward one.
They said that, well, there's going to be a lot of testing. And on top of that, they're going to update this playbook as the pandemic develops --
CHATTERLEY: Yes, fingers crossed they can manage this, but I have to say the headline from the U.K.'s "Guardian" newspaper said it all. It said:
"Tokyo Olympics: definitely going ahead, unless canceled again."
Selina Wang, thank you for that update there.
All right, let me bring you up to speed now with some of the other stories making headlines around the world. The Kremlin is defending what it calls
harsh action by riot police to disperse protesters demanding the release of Alexei Navalny.
Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critic was sentenced to prison for violating his parole while recovering from nerve gas poisoning. A
monitoring group says more than 1,400 protesters were detained Tuesday.
Frederik Pleitgen is live in Moscow. Fred, I was watching yesterday when that verdict came through, a lot of fury from his supporters. Just talk us
through what we've seen in the ensuing hours.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're absolutely right, Julia. There certainly was a lot of fury after that
verdict came in that he was going to have to spend more than 2.5 years or two and a half years in prison. And essentially what happened was that
Alexei Navalny supporters said that people should march to the Kremlin, but certainly the Russian authorities very much were ready for that.
There was a suffocating police presence on the street and I was on the streets around the Kremlin until well after midnight, until I think two or
three in the morning, yesterday and they were just scores of riot cops everywhere. They surrounded the Kremlin. They went into a lot of the side
streets and they just detained people en masse.
We could see that for several hours. We ourselves saw dozens of detentions take place. And the Kremlin, today, we were on a conference call with them,
with Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Kremlin, and he said absolutely that the Kremlin believes that the actions were justified, seemingly not
giving an inch saying that all of these gatherings that were taking place in Moscow were illegal and that therefore, a tough response by the
authorities was necessary.
It came of course after that remarkable trial in Moscow where Alexei Navalny ripped into the Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he would be
remembered as Putin the poisoner.
Of course, we always have to point out that's an extremely dangerous thing to say in a public setting here in Russia. And then of course, he will most
probably have to spend the next more than two and a half years behind bars even though we spoke to his legal team, and they said they were going to
try and appeal.
It certainly seems that these problems are not going to go away anytime soon. Certainly, the Kremlin very much signaling that they are not going to
give an inch. It's quite interesting, Julia, because we've been talking about in the past that the Kremlin especially Vladimir Putin has never even
-- or never really named Alexei Navalny by name.
They've now reverted to calling him, quote, "the convict" and one of the things that Dmitry Peskov said in that call today, he said, "The convict
does not decide how Vladimir Putin will be remembered in history" -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: What did he call Putin? Putin the poisoner, the convict versus Putin, the poisonous.
CHATTERLEY: Fred Pleitgen in Moscow, thank you so much for that.
Myanmar's deposed leader will remain in custody for two more weeks according to her party spokesman. Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested on Monday
as the military staged a coup. She has been charged with an obscure offense: illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies.
All right, still to come here on FIRST MOVE, vaccine victory in West Virginia. The state has been a model for a fast and effective rollout.
We're joined by the governor to find out how.
And spotting the next GameStop: one company says it has the data to predict the next Reddit rally. We've got the CEO of Thinknum coming up on the show.
Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. U.S. stocks are still on track for a mostly higher open this morning. The NASDAQ about to test record levels
Just released numbers show the U.S. jobs market coming into 2021 with surprising strength, 174,000 private sector jobs were added to the U.S.
economy last month trouncing expectations. That's great news.
It's going to be interesting to see how this might affect the stimulus or financial aid debate in Washington, D.C. The bottom line is jobless
Americans still need help and successful vaccine rollouts are also key to our recovery.
Leading the way on that front is West Virginia. More than nine percent of its population has now received at least one vaccine dose, well ahead of
the U.S. average of six percent.
The state is also making the most of the doses it has received, 94 percent of available doses have been administered as of this morning.
And joining us now is Jim Justice. He is the Governor of West Virginia. Governor Justice, thank you for joining us on the show. Great to have you
with us. You're regularly topping the charts for vaccine distribution. Just explain how you are managing this please in your state.
GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): Well, Julia, thank you so much for having me. And this is -- this -- you know, I'm not a politician. You know, I really don't
care if you're a Democrat or Republican or independent, I've never cared. But at the end of the day, you know, when it really boils right down to it,
being a businessman throughout my life, you know, you see a lot of people that try to do things, but they make it a lot harder than it really is.
In this situation, here, the easiest -- the easy stuff is always the toughest stuff to find, you know, but if you just step back and think about
just this, while people all across our land are trying to develop a system, developing models, or whatever it may be, we have people dying. I mean,
it's just as simple as just that.
And so what we did in West Virginia, we recruited everybody, an all-in type approach. Our local pharmacies, our local clinics, our local health
departments, all of all National Guard, we put our National Guard in the field at work. These people are unbelievable.
And when it really boiled right down to it, we started putting shots in arms. Now, I know this is hard to imagine, but we're getting more shots out
of the vials naturally, as all across the land. But up to this date right now, on the shots that we've received, on the vaccines we've received,
we've got 108.1 percent of the vaccines that we've received in somebody's arm right now.
CHATTERLEY: It's phenomenal. I mean, you -- I think you said it cleanly by cutting out the politics here and just treating this almost like a military
operation. You opted out of the Federal plan that was looking at tying -- partnering Walgreens and CVS pharmacies with care facilities.
My understanding is you have around 20 percent of the population that are 65 and over, so simply getting your local pharmacies, tying them to care
home facilities and saying, guys match up, get these shots into arms, get these vaccines into arms, helped you with this progress.
JUSTICE: Well, all of that is dead on, Julia. You know, when it really boils right down to it, you know, we're an elderly state. It is the third
oldest in the nation. We've got the most chronic illnesses in the nation, and we've got populations that are, you know, sparse in different places,
so it's hard to get to them.
But you've got to make this to where the people that are used -- whether they are used to going to the local pharmacies or local health clinics,
whatever it may be, you've got to go to the people.
And we did make it, a military-type operation. We did not make it a standardized bureaucratic operation. And, in doing so, we really reached
out to the people and we've been doing it for weeks and we could do so much more if we could just get the vaccines.
You know, there's still millions and millions of vaccines that are sitting on some shelf in some state somewhere, and it's a shame because everybody
needs to realize this is something that you've got to act within the hour. This is not something that a week or a must deal, because you've got people
dying right and left and we know it's all about age, age and age, and that's where this terrible pandemic hits.
And we've run to the fire with our acute care people and our teachers and we've gotten all of our nursing homes, you know, from our residents and our
staff, they've got their second shots now. We've done all of that, but we just need to keep doing a lot more.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, you were -- you were vaccinating people and getting through care homes before others had even started. We were just showing a
website here and I want to point this out because the use of digital technology, I think has been critical to what you've achieved in the state
not only just the provision of data out there to understand cases, hospitalizations, but where you can go. It's local to go and get a vaccine.
You also have digital tools for people just to sign up and say look, I'm interested in getting a vaccine, you know, give me a call when you have
some available. Jim, this is part of how well organized you've been.
JUSTICE: Well, you know, I owe an awful lot of credit to our National Guard, our coronavirus czar, all the experts that work at this every day,
but they know just this, I'll promise they know this that I'll sit on them because I am absolutely all in about people dying.
You know we created -- we created Operation Save Our Wisdom because that's what we're losing in this country. More than anything, we're losing our
wisdom. The people that absolutely have that wisdom to pass on are dying and they're dying a terrible death.
So, you know what we did in addition to this, we developed a system, you know, to where basically, it notifies people either by text or e-mail or
call and you know, how they can get to where they can get to and everything and it makes just for an ease of that because to be part of that, we don't
want seniors and everybody standing out in the line and then run out of vaccines, that's not going to work because you're just going to make them
JUSTICE: So the net of the whole thing is, you know, West Virginia has, as you know, led the way all the way through this, but West Virginia is a
unique place. I mean, it's got great, great people and really smart people and the four most beautiful seasons on the planet.
And I'm not an infomercial, I am telling you, we are within 600 miles, two- thirds of the population of the country with no ocean that is protecting us. And yet, the numbers that we produce in this state, we've kept our
deaths very low. The economic is really good. And you know, it is manageable.
If people just would remove the bureaucracy and remove the politics. It is absolutely manageable if you just get off your butt and do it.
CHATTERLEY: I was about to say that applies in many things beyond COVID, quite frankly. And to your point about sitting on people, I was looking at
your bio, and you're six foot seven. So when you say, I believe it, and so when you say you're going to sit on someone, it means something.
Jim -- Governor Justice, talk to me about sitting on people in Congress, because there are members -- and you are a Republican. I know, you said it
doesn't matter whether you're Democrat or Republican, but that is the party that you represent. How do you feel? And what's your message to them, as we
still continue to battle over getting more financial aid to the country?
JUSTICE: Well, Julia, if you'll just ask yourself this question, you know: is it good how our Democrats and Republicans in Washington have interacted
with one another? Have they done a good job? Have they really truly, truly helped the people? Or is it a constant political food fight?
I think it's despicable what goes on in Washington. I mean, to be perfectly honest, our stimulus package should have been passed months ago -- months
ago. But absolutely, you know, Speaker Pelosi and President Trump, it was a constant food fight.
And at the end of the day, even President Trump, you know, was for like a billion and eight hundred -- I'm sorry, $1.8 trillion stimulus package at
one point in time, but we just mess around and mess around while people are really hurting.
Now, the reality of this is just really simple. I am not an advocate of bailing out cities' pension plans and things like that, and I have not seen
all the inner workings of the bill. But I will promise you one thing, you cannot restrict or cut your way out of this mess.
Now is the time when our Federal government needs to go big or not go at all. And that's exactly how I feel. Because absolutely, if we waste a
little bit of dollars right now, but we're able to achieve, we continue to try to squeeze it down and squeeze it down and everything, and then we have
to go back and we have to go back and we have to go back.
I would a whole lot rather get us through this and get to people that are out there that need to be able to pay their rent and their utility bills
and everything else under the sun and get all those businesses that are struggling or going under and get them right side up and get us through
this pandemic and get America back going.
I mean, that's the main thing.
CHATTERLEY: I'm with you, sir, and that's the quote of the show, I think. You can't cut your way out of crisis.
Governor Justice, fantastic to have you on the show. Congratulations with what you're doing in West Virginia and I will come and visit. You did a
good sell on me. I'll come and visit after COVID. Thank you, sir.
JUSTICE: You better.
CHATTERLEY: Stay well.
JUSTICE: You better come.
CHATTERLEY: That's a promise.
JUSTICE: Okay. Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Thank you, sir. Bye.
Okay, the opening bell is next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE and U.S. stocks are open for trading this Wednesday. A mostly higher open with tech seeing the biggest gains
around half a percent driven by strong Q4 results from Amazon and from Alphabet.
The speculative rally, meanwhile, is down, but not out. GameStop and AMC bouncing a little as you can see in the session today, up 17 percent for
GameStop. But just to be clear, this comes after huge losses on Tuesday with GameStop falling around 60 -- six zero -- percent.
What about silver, too, which had attracted the attention of the Reddit army too in recent days? Adding to recent gains, too, up some -- just shy
of two and a half percent there.
In the meantime, millions of Americans will be reminded of the Reddit revolution this weekend. Robinhood, which is raising billions of dollars in
emergency financing has found a little extra cash to buy a Super Bowl ad, price tag, $5 million. No comment.
All right, let's bring it back to our top story of the day: the Bezos bombshell.
Jeff Bezos stepping down as the CEO of Amazon, the company he founded 27 years ago, Dan Ives, the Managing Director of Equity Research at Wedbush
Securities joins us now and he has been following the meteoric rise of Bezos, and Amazon from the very beginning.
Dan, you called it a stunner. Great to have you with us. Your thoughts this morning?
DAN IVES, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF EQUITY RESEARCH, WEDBUSH SECURITIES: Yes, it's a stunner. You're talking about one of the tech Titans that has really
established not just the e-commerce, but cloud ecosystem that we live in today.
Now, this is going to send a ripple effect across the tech space and you look at Bezos' legacy, it is up there with Gates, Musk, Cook, and others. I
think now, it's about Jassy taking over on AWS really focused on doubling down on Cloud, but it's a historic day, as Bezos exits stage left.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, huge achievement. We can't take it away. I mean, even the letter that he sent to his shareholders, where he was just laying out -
- to his employees -- just laying out what they've achieved over this time, and the fact that he is handing it over to someone like Andy Jassy now, the
head of the Cloud business, I think, perhaps tells you where they see the most lucrative opportunities.
IVES: Yes, I mean, the accomplishments we're talking historic that will live on for, you know, centuries to come, and I think -- but when it comes
to Cloud, that really shows direction where this company is going, doubling down on AWS.
Look at Microsoft and Google, it is an arms race in Cloud, and that's why Jassy gets the nod here, a smart move. But ultimately, now, as Bezos goes
to the Exec Chairman position, the point is there's some gloom come off the rows as you don't have the Bezos impact that's really helped propel Amazon
to where it is.
But Jassy, I would expect the baton handed off pretty smoothly here, but no doubt, the headline continues to be Cloud front and center for Amazon. Of
course, e-commerce that continues to be bread and butter.
CHATTERLEY: Are you worried about that? About some of the boom coming off? That's an interesting comment to make.
IVES: Well, I think I've seen it for decades. I mean, when Gates left, and Ballmer took over, you know, you go back to, I think, Cook and Jobs, that's
unique in terms of just how successful Cook has been in terms of getting the baton handed Apple.
But anytime you fill shoes like this, that historic type shoes to fill, it's a tough task, and I think especially when it comes down to what's
happening in this Cloud arms race, because of the crosstown rival with Redmond, everything that Dell is doing, Microsoft, you're seeing share gain
from Microsoft at a time that now Jassy will be running Amazon.
An interesting time, but no doubt, I mean, this continues to really be a big focus for investors over the next 12 to 18 months.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it's fascinating when you say that Andy Jassy is the Cloud Titan here, but if there's anything to pick up on in these earnings, it's
that starting to lose sort of market share to Microsoft, also a dramatically big player in in the Cloud space.
You know, we actually managed to speak to Andy Jassy on the show back in December and we talked about some of the other challenges that they are
facing: heightened regulatory risk, whether or not at some point in the future, given just the monster size of the AWS, the Cloud business, whether
they would spin it off, just listen to what he had to say about these things.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY JASSY, INCOMING CEO, AMAZON: We talk a lot about internally at Amazon is that when, when your company starts to get larger, like we have at
Amazon, you've had success in a few different business segments like we have, you're going to have to expect more scrutiny and people are going to
look at what you're doing.
And so what we spend most of our time focused on is making sure we do right by customers, and then when we are scrutinized, and people look at what
we're doing, that we're proud of what we do. And so that's what we spend our time doing. We're always focused on customers and are trying to do
things the right way.
You know, people ask us all the time whether we expect AWS to be spun off and you know, I don't. And I think that typically, when companies choose to
spin off units, it's either because they want them off their financial statements or they can't fund the new business in the way they want and
neither of those have been the case for AWS.
And I think also, our customers would prefer us not to be spun off just because I think instead of having us focused on earnings calls or building
a separate financial systems or H.R. systems, they want us focused on making sure that they have a secure operationally performant and highly
capable infrastructure, and that's what they want to spend time doing.
CHATTERLEY: Try not to fix something that isn't broken and focus on customers first, quite frankly, and providing a service to them. That's the
CHATTERLEY: Yes. I hear it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: It sounds like a safe pair of hands, Dan.
IVES: Yes, I mean, he is the gold standard in terms of -- on Cloud. But it comes down to stronger and getting stronger in this COVID environment.
That's more regulatory scrutiny both in Europe and the U.S. that all FAANG names, not just Amazon, but Apple, Facebook and others are going to have
to, you know, ultimately take more heat in the kitchen as we've seen this meteoric success, poster child for, you know, what's really a goldmine on
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and Facebook, last guy standing, of course, Mark Zuckerberg in charge of a company that he founded. These hearings are going
to be quite fascinating, I think.
Dan, great to have your insights to everybody this morning.
IVES: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Dan Ives, Managing Director of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities there.
All right, coming up after the break, Wall Street watching WallStreetBets in a whole new way, the latest weapon to find the next GameStop is next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. It may be hard for some to believe, but a chat board on Reddit is a key market mover right now, and aggregating
that data for whatever purpose could be a laborious exercise, but it didn't take long for someone to automate that process.
Thinknum, which describes itself as a web scraping data processor is offering a data set which is specific to Reddit, the social media platform,
after demand from investment firms literally went through the roof.
Justin Zhen is the cofounder of Thinknum Alternative Data, and he joins us now. Justin, you guys worked incredibly quickly. Just explain this specific
product that targets Reddit chat.
JUSTIN ZHEN, COFOUNDER, THINKNUM ALTERNATIVE DATA: Sure. Thanks for having me. Let me explain what we do in general.
ZHEN: And then about I can talk about what we did with Reddit. So we provide what's called alternative data from the web. This activity has been
coming online for a while now. Right? Companies are selling products online. They are hiring employees online. They use social media to market
their brands online.
So the side effect of this big shift is a lot of data that's created that's really actionable to determining which company is doing well, or what are
prices doing in real time, so we index all of this data.
Now Reddit, obviously, recently has become a really powerful driver in just, you know in short term movement of stock prices. So we work with over
300 clients across investment firms, corporations, universities, and we got a lot of client demand to start tracking this Reddit dataset. So we put it
together very quickly. And yes, the demand has continued to come in.
CHATTERLEY: So you look for mentions of New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ ticker data, these specific companies and you compile it, and you basically
get this data for these companies that suddenly came to you and are like, "We need to find this." As soon as there's noise around a specific stock,
you track it and you flag it to these guys using this product.
ZHEN: Yes, exactly. So we track the number of mentions by ticker on the most popular Reddit subreddits, and the beauty of our platform is investors
can use this not just to track Reddit, but they can triangulate this with other datasets, right?
So if a company is taking off on Reddit, do the other datasets of what that piece is, right, are they adding stores? Are they hiring more? So it's
really a complete product where Reddit in the short term has become a big part of kind of a competition -- but you know, there's a lot of other
datasets that are already out there as well.
CHATTERLEY: Oh, yes, and I completely accept your point there. This could be used for many different beneficial reasons. It's just that this
particular one at this moment, suddenly is incredibly hard. I mean, I used to work at a hedge fund, too.
If I'm a short seller out there and I have this big short on as we saw with GameStop, if I suddenly now get a flag warning from your product, saying
everyone is talking about it. Maybe they're going to buy, you know to get out of your trade, or at least you have fair warning earlier than you might
have done. That's true.
ZHEN: Exactly. If you're an investor and you have a short, our Reddit data set can tell you, these -- you know, these are the tickers that are getting
traction. If one of the tickers happens to be in your portfolio, then you need to be careful, because you know, it could potentially become the next
So there -- so investors are using our dataset to identify the next potential GameStops in a way.
CHATTERLEY: So I have to ask you about clients. Is Melvin Capital, which, of course, is the hedge fund that lost billions of dollars on the GameStop
trade, are they a client? Were they a client before you developed this product?
ZHEN: So we can't disclose most of our clients. There are some that gave us permission to disclose, which is on our website. But obviously, most of our
clients, you know, are quite secretive. So I can't -- I can't disclose that.
CHATTERLEY: But you accept -- and I obviously had to ask, and I knew exactly what your answer was going to be. This is almost a tool that
probably only big institutions, corporates, hedge funds, and again, to your point, they'll use this for many reasons, not just the stock market
trading, but it's probably only the big institutional, the hedge fund clients that will be able to afford this product.
What does it cost in absolute for the provision of data and the analysis that you provide?
ZHEN: So our vision as a company, is not just to provide data for large hedge funds. So we work with many universities, we work with retail
investors, right? You know, we think that there's this incredible source of data, which is the web. Someone should index it, right, instead of many
people kind of going into their, like, into subreddits and reading all of it and trying to jump into this data.
There is one person who should do a great job at indexing and making it useful, and then providing that to many single people. So I wouldn't say
that, you know, we -- that we are strictly a tool for large institutions to use.
CHATTERLEY: This is very important. So an individual investor could access this. What's the cost? What's the annual cost of access to your products?
If I want to be a client of Thinknum, how do I -- how do I -- how much do I have to pay?
ZHEN: Yes, it depends on the package? You know, it depends on the usage, it depends on kind of the different datasets that they're buying.
So, you know, if you're a larger corporation, let's say you may buy multiple datasets and you know -- and then the price will be different. We
have like API packages. So it kind of depends on the specific needs of the client. But you know, we're very -- we're pretty flexible to the use case,
So we work with a very large hedge fund. We work with a very small hedge fund. We work with institutional investors and we work with retail
investors. So you know, we kind of like -- our vision is for the most people possible to get -- to take advantage of this information. So, you
know, to that note, like we're relatively flexible in our pricing.
CHATTERLEY: Would I have to break my piggy bank if Julia Chatterley wanted to just get access to this specific tool? She says smiling.
ZHEN: You definitely --
CHATTERLEY: It is a small piggy bank. Yes. Justin, I can tell you're being coy. Thank you so much for joining us. Come back and talk to us about the
broader aspect of what you're doing, too, because we've honed in on one specific thing, but your company itself is pretty fascinating and we will
talk about it again.
Justin Zhen, cofounder of Thinknum Alternative Data. Great to have you on the show.
All right. Coming up after the break, tributes to Sir Tom Moore, the veteran who raised tens of millions of dollars to help fight COVID-19.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Captain Sir Tom Moore was a hero in the truest sense of the word. In the dark days of the Second World War, he
fought for freedom and in the face of this country's deepest postwar crisis, he united us all.
He cheered us all up and he embodied the triumph of the human spirit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to the show. Chinese New Year will look very different this year. The Holiday that was a mass travel, global super
spreading event last year has been scaled back.
And as David Culver shows, that hasn't dampened the Holiday spirit.
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Strolling the aisles of a Shanghai grocery store, Vicky Wang is stocking up ahead of the most
important holiday in China, the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival.
Traditionally, the Holiday marks the largest mass migration of humans each year. In China, major cities empty out as hundreds of millions travel back
to their home provinces.
But last year's outbreak in Wuhan coincided with the start of the Chinese New Year and made for a perfect storm: packed train stations like this one
in Beijing, combined with a rapidly spreading virus. This year, the government urging and in some cases even ordering people not to travel.
Wang is among the millions sacrificing precious time with family this Holiday, following the government guidance to stay put.
VICKY WANG, INTERNET COMPANY PROJECT MANAGER: We have to make a lot of sacrifice for everyone to keep us safe.
CULVER (voice over): While China has touted its strict and seemingly effective containment efforts, recent cluster outbreaks have resulted in
the government's travel restrictions.
Already, in the first three days of the annual travel rush, passenger rail trips plummeted more than 70 percent. The normally packed train stations
are now eerily empty. It seems many are following the government's suggestion to not travel.
CULVER (on camera): And some state-owned companies are even paying their employees a few hundred dollars, encouraging them not to return to their
hometown and instead to use the Holiday time to explore the cities in which they live and work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The city is lighting up. So the staycation is really popular.
CULVER (voice over): Jane Sun is CEO of China's largest online travel agency, trip.com, showing us customer's real-time bookings. She points out
that while flight and train tickets within China are down compared with years past, hotels are benefiting from the staycation effect.
JANE SUN, CEO OF TRIP.COM: We are able to ask hotels to come up or creative packages for the families, for their children so that our customers who
used to travel abroad can spend their time with their family, within the same cities.
CULVER (voice over): But some are still determined to travel home. By video chat, we spoke with a 21-year-old Dan D, not his real name, as he doesn't
want to get in trouble for criticizing the government.
He just wrapped up 21 days of quarantine, which included heavy surveillance right outside his front door, all to travel home for the Chinese New Year,
which he says is deeply personal for migrant workers.
DAN D, TRAVELLED HOME IN CHINA: The Spring Festival is the only chance and the most important chance for them to go home, to stay with their family.
That's why I think they need to go home.
WANG: Okay. This is good. It means travel safe and comes the good luck.
CULVER (voice over): As for those who choose to stay, like Wang, they are still finding ways to celebrate, asking her parents and sister over video
chat for their advice on cooking the Chinese New Year dinner, a meal she and millions of others will eat separated from loved ones as China works to
halt a decade long tradition of mass migration so as to prevent a repeat of last year's rapid spread of the virus.
David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.
CHATTERLEY: And finally, we were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore, the British war veteran who raised money for the
fight against coronavirus by walking laps around his garden.
CHATTERLEY: The 100-year-old died on Tuesday from pneumonia and COVID-19.
In about three hours' time, people across the U.K. will clap for Sir Tom and all healthcare workers. His face went up in lights at London's
Piccadilly Circus and his name was beamed across the Capitol from the top of the BT Tower.
His selfless efforts bought $40 million to the National Health Service.
We salute you, sir, a lifelong hero and thank you for your service from the bottom of our hearts.
All right, that's it for the show. I'm Julia Chatterley. Stay safe as always, and "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is next.